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Parenting Tip: Do You Understand?

Recently word got out in my hometown that I have a website that claims in it’s title that I am Resourceful. Conversations at a wedding turned to just how resourceful I really am, and luckily one friend brought up a tip I once gave her that she uses with her son now. So to prove my resourcefulness, I’d like to share it with all of you now(and if you’re in Schuylkill County, PA, reading this….no, I’m not famous).

Rather than use the word “okay” with your children, try using the word “understand.”

I read this tip in an interview with Maria Shriver several years ago – before I became a mother – and took it to heart. For us, it has meant the world of difference. My husband periodically slips and finds himself saying things such as, “We’re heading upstairs for bath now, okay?” and is immediately met with all of the reasons that it is in fact not okay with our children.

By saying, “understand,” you are not requesting approval. You are simply checking for comprehension.

One caveat: My two year old son has gotten around our semantics by answering, “Yes, but…” I still feel much better knowing that my word choice has not empowered my children to believe that they are in charge, even if they believe they are anyway (and even if they are).

This post was originally published on January 12, 2009.  My children are now six and eight and while they “understand,” they also protest eloquently. :)

Comments

  1. 1

    I LOVE THIS!! Why didn’t I read your original post before I had kids. Do you think it’s too late to change my ways?
    Sara recently posted..An Interview with … ME!

  2. 2

    Wow, this is an awesome tip! I have been saying “okay?” when I give them a choice, but sometimes slip up when just telling them what to do. “Understand” is much better – and, yes, you are resourceful! :)
    Clea recently posted..5 Ways To Get Your Family and Friends to Read Your Blog

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